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Sykes didn't qualify because of paperwork error



A missed signature cost Pastor Manuel Sykes the opportunity to run for the Legislature.

The St. Petersburg minister last week announced his intention to to run as a Democrat in House District 70, the four-county district that takes in parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

But in a rush to get his qualifying paperwork to Tallahassee by Friday's deadline, Sykes forgot to sign a disclosure form. The state's Division of Election officials informed him of the oversight, Sykes said Tuesday.

"I was like a chicken with his head cut off. I was in a rush," Sykes said. "They are sticklers for detail."

Election Division officials didn't return a call for comment from the Tampa Bay Times, but Sykes said they told him that they noticed the error too late to contact him on Friday. He had mailed a qualifying check on Thursday to the office, which was received a few hours before the noon deadline on Friday.

While disappointed, Sykes said he'll keep looking for ways to serve the south side of St. Petersburg.  Lesson learned, he said.

"Next time, be on time," he said.

The minister of Bethel Community Baptist Church said he didn't plan to fight the state's decision It wouldn't be fair to candidates who had their paperwork completed on time, he said.

"They didn't wrong me," Sykes said.

Three Democrats have qualified: former St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton, St. Petersburg businessman Dan Fiorini and St. Petersburg attorney Christopher Johnn  "CJ" Czaia. 

The winner of the Aug. 30 primary will face Sarasota Republican Cori Fournier. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 11:10am]


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